Members of the Hinesville Military Affairs Committee on Wednesday discussed last month’s inaugural Veterans Salute and how to draw a larger crowd to next year’s event.
Despite some disagreements about particular issues, members agreed that the Veterans Salute now is an annual event.
“We have one agenda item for tonight’s meeting, and that’s to wrap up the Veterans Salute event,” HMAC Chairman and City Councilman David Anderson said. “I think we need to discuss holding next year’s event prior to Veterans Day. We can do that, if y’all agree to it.”
Anderson spoke of next year’s event with no reservations about whether HMAC would continue sponsoring the event each November. What he and others wanted to know was if there was an alternative date. He said some people had complained about holding the event after Veterans Day. Moving the date, however, would interfere with other community events, including Riceboro’s Rice Fest.
It also was noted that holding the event before next year’s Veterans Day would work well, but as each year goes by and Veterans Day moves further into the week, they would end up holding the Salute up to a week before Veterans Day.
Near the end of the evening, a motion was made to keep Veterans Salute as an annual event for the third Saturday in November.
Jeff Ashmen noted this year’s event drew about a fourth the crowd they had anticipated. Several members said many people told them after the event they either didn’t know about the event or had never heard of Bryant Commons. Many suggestions were made about how to get more publicity for next year’s event.
Anderson and George Holtzman told the committee plans were being made by the city to put a large sign near the Bryant Commons entrance. Holtzman suggested if the sign was digital, the city could use it to announce other events there.
For nearly an hour, members debated the best way to deal with the raffle tickets and door prizes. Anderson suggested holding door-prize drawings at 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. They then could hold the raffle-ticket drawings at 4:30 p.m. Ashmen questioned holding the raffle-ticket drawing until the end of the day. He said ticket holders knew they didn’t have to be there for the raffle-ticket drawing, but they did have to be there for the door-prize drawings.
He called the door prizes retention tools, noting that many people began to leave after the last door-prize drawing. He also suggested giving away the smaller door prizes first.
“We had over 70 door-prize items,” P.J. Schneider said. “We made a decision on the field to expand the drawings ... I think we need to look at the door-prize issue in its entirety ... I think the big issue, though, is drawing a bigger crowd next year.”
Committee members agreed and a motion was made to establish a cutoff date of July 1 for raffle-ticket items in order to have the items donated listed on the raffle tickets. No cutoff date for door prizes was established, although Melinda Schneider suggested limiting the number of door prizes.
Committee members closed the meeting with a motion to donate the $6,000 collected from the Salute to the Veterans Memorial Walk planned for Bryant Commons. They also approved a motion to pay for a thank-you ad.